Whether you are looking to add volume without impact or you are cross training as you recover from injury, aqua jogging is great for runners.
In a study of Aqua Jogging, “Deep-water running: a practical review of the literature with an emphasis on biomechanics,” by Garry Killgore we learn that aqua jogging is suitable for maintaining aerobic fitness. In this article we will be referencing Killgore’s study.
Killgore’s research found that aqua jogging can maintain aerobic fitness for up to 6 weeks.
Most injuries require a 6 week break, therefore aqua jogging might be your most promising option for maintaining your hard earned fitness during injury recovery.
Why aqua jog?
Aqua jogging is one of the best cross training options for runners. Aqua jogging offers the benefits of being a zero-impact activity while stimulating neuromuscular activation for running.
During aqua jogging, the functional movement pattern is very similar to running.
According to an article by Science Direct about Neuromuscular Function stated, “Neuromuscular control involves the subconscious integration of sensory information that is processed by the central nervous system, resulting in controlled movement through coordinated muscle activity.”
While you cannot do the running activity, it is very beneficial to continue to coordinate the running muscle activity and recruitment. While you cannot grow your aerobic capacity as effectively as running, you can maintain through proper deep water running.
Arguably the more important benefit is that you can maintain your aerobic fitness for up to 6 weeks, as mentioned earlier. There was no evidence that a runner could reach use and grow their aerobic system while aqua jogging.
How do I aqua jog?
The method of aqua jogging is simple: run in the water. Use proper running form. Engage your core, pump your arms, lift your knee, and pull up your heel.
Many runners opt to use an Aqua Jogging belt to help maintain form. Using a belt helps put yourself in a better position to get the most out of the muscle recruitment benefit. You want to lean slightly forward.
If you find yourself needing to rely on Aqua jogging for a long period of time, you can forgo the belt, but you must concentrate on good form. You will have to move your legs much more quickly to keep yourself afloat.
Kaylin Russeau suggested using old running shoes to create more resistance on the return in the water. This helps increase the effort output which will make aqua jogging a more effective way to cross train. One of the challenges of aqua jogging is that your maximal heart rate and oxygen consumption values are consistently lower than running on dry land (Killgore, 2013).
Should I aqua jog?
For maintaining fitness and for the neuromuscular activation and benefits of running recruitment, aqua jogging can help you set yourself up to return to running from injury. Aqua jogging is also a great recovery activity for runners to get good blood flow between sessions similar to a recovery jog.
As we learned from Killgore’s study, aqua jogging does have limitations with growing aerobic fitness in well-trained athletes, but can help sustain your fitness for 6 weeks.
Happy aqua jogging!
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